What’s love got to do with it? Well, the artists exhibiting in the Hayward’s Project Space all have varying opinions on the subject. Specifically on the gestures both visual and verbal that we use to communicate love and the play of power between lovers as levels of longing and desire shift.
A clever video piece by William Cobbing shows a couple embracing. The piece entitled Kiss tackles this much-historically-referenced subject from a fresh perspective. The two figures have large lumps of clay encasing their heads which meet where their lips would be. Each lover runs their hands over the clay head of the other, forming the crude shapes of eyes, ears, cheek bones. Each forms their partner blindly as they themselves are moulded. Both are sculptor, both are model, making the work feel insular and private, as if we are intruding on a private moment.
Anna Barham’s piece I feel love plays a game of Chinese whispers with a computer as dictation software misinterprets the words to the 70s hit bearing the same name. Thus highlighting the pitfalls of missed meanings, imperfect communication and resulting emotional confusion. These ideas, reinforced by the backdrop of Joanna Piotrowska’s beautiful photographs of plutonic family members arranged in romantically ambiguous positions, seem to be the theme for this group exhibition. The melancholic, slightly haunting monologues of Ilona Sagar’s film piece and an audio installation by Sharon Hayes to an anonymous lover, complete the exhibition.
Be prepared to question how flawed our communication with our loved ones really is and to ponder on how fragile our emotional intent becomes on its journey between our mind and that of the object of our desires and affections. At the very least, be prepared to listen more intently to the words ‘I love you’ in the future.
What’s Love Got to Do with It? is showing at the Hayward Gallery until 14th Sept. Admission is free. For more information go to southbankcentre.co.uk/whatson/whats-love-got-to-do-with-it-1000570?dt=2014-08-27
Maxine Kirsty Sapsford, Arts Editor